The night air was still; Syddall moved with silent determination. His university robes caught branches as he made his way through the dank forest, every step adding another layer of dark muck to his fine black shoes. The top university said their course would be difficult; they never mentioned traveling across the country to gather reading material. Syddall was at the top of his class for nightmare interpretation studies; he had no idea that his masters would involve him sourcing his learning material.
Hollow has many things on offer, but literature is not one of them. There are very few people who would invest the time or money into making books, and those who do end up having them stolen by Magnus. Magnus was cursed with immortality by Anodyne, only to have his mortality returned once he filled the library. No one knows the reason why Anodyne cursed Magnus, only that the Grand Magnus Library is one of the most dangerous places in Hollow.
Syddall crossed through the edge of the forest, revealing the towering structure before him. The library climbed into the sky, disappearing into the clouds; the circular architecture was so different from the regular mundane buildings of Hollow.
Syddall remained hidden as he looked over the notes he had taken from the university.
The Grand Magnus library,
The exterior is the safest part of the library; entering is relatively easy depending on how many wild Nightmares happen to be roaming there that night.
All the dangers lie within.
Regardless of how careful you are, the library moves, it is impossible to know where you are at any time.
The main threat is the abomination of unknown size or shape that roams the halls of the library; its shapeless form is made from corpses that have animated and joined together.
The final threat is the librarians that Magnus hired to roam the halls; they are all followers of Gleam Eyes. All the librarians have Gleam Eye’s blessing, where they can turn into a large black nightmare. They have long muscular limbs, barbs that protrude from their body, and a head with no eyes. They instead use a different way of seeing that is yet to be deciphered.
Under no circumstance should you take…
“Of course, the text ends there; whoever wrote this was an asshole. Judging by the blood stains on the paper, they are probably dead too.”
Syddall rolled the parchment up, returning it to his satchel; he drew a simple crystal-powered pistol. Syddall made sure that he had backup crystals to power the gun, along with spare parchment and pens. Syddall took another deep breath.
“Ok, ok, I have to get that book if I want my masters. So no backing off, or we don’t get that grant to study.” Syddall reassured himself as he took his first steps out of the safety of the tree line. Step after step, his pace quickened, and his mud-covered shoes became heavier as his feet left deep depressions in the loamy soil. The further he ran, the firmer the soil became; he turned to see his progress from the tree line but was distracted by a pack of lightweight nightmares darting across the soft soil. Their thin frame and high speed made them ideal for roaming the soft soil. Syddall fumbled for his pistol as his pace slowed; his wheezing covered the sound of the nightmares footsteps; panic started to get the better of him as he struggled for the gun. All of Syddall’s energy had been exerted as he fell to the ground; the first nightmare overshot him clawing, snapping, and falling in front of him. Puffing, he drew his pistol, hands shaking; he unloaded three bolts into the fallen nightmare, its flesh cooking from the intense heat of the green bolts. Six more green flashes flared, leaving the library grounds scattered with dead bodies and seared flesh. Taking no chances, he moved as fast as his tired body would let him until he collapsed at the front doors of the library. Knowing that the Library was more dangerous inside, he sat against the door to recuperate. After a drink and a quick snack, Syddall decided to sit a little longer in the cold air, trying to cool down his overworked body.
“I really need to work out more on campus; that run was barely five hundred meters.” He said to himself, grasping at his stiff legs. His rest was cut short when another pack of thin-framed nightmares started full sprint towards him. Casually standing, Syddall emptied the rest of his gun in their direction, picking off one or two as he entered the Library, making sure to lock the door behind him. The pack’s footsteps seemed to turn away from the Library and head back into the surrounding forest as Syddall listened through the door.
Syddall turned from the door to be met with a vast empty entrance hall; he squinted as he made his way to a door and the only source of light. As he got closer, he could start to make things out; the light source was gems filled with an electric current illuminating a small surrounding. Syddall moved his way through the door; before him was the massive central column of space that seemed to carry on forever in both directions. He peered over the edge of the railing to try and make out the bottom, but the lights seemed to fade away into the black of the hole. Upon staring up, he was faced with the very same hole traveling through the center of the structure that never seemed to end.
“How on Hollow am I supposed to find my book in this mess?” He asked himself, staring around the vast space of the Library. “Wait, this cannot be the center of the Library; I have not walked in far enough. This must be just one of many gaps in the structure.”
Syddall slumped down onto the railing, feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge to come. Across the gap, he spied someone; their robes hid their face and what they were holding. The robed figure seemed to be placing books on the library shelves.
“Ahh, one of the Librarians. I must make sure to avoid them, although he does not look like too much of a threat.” Syddall observed the calm, moving Librarian for a few moments longer before quietly moving along. Syddall tried to make haste, but the crystal lamps struggled to illuminate the hallways, slowing Syddall from moving at speed.
Shelf by shelf, Syddall examined the spines of the books, finding writings from every era. Fishing, cooking, survival, and every other topic Syddall could think of, except anything to do with nightmares.
“Oh, look, another book on bookmaking; this is really useful because so many bastards make books that we need eleven issues on how to make one.” Syddall started to throw books to the floor in frustration. “Farming, floored, hunting, floored, symbols, floored, rune crafting, floo… Actually, I might keep this one.”
“Quick, I hear someone.” A voice echoed through the dim halls.
Syddall pocketed his new book and started to run towards the closest door he could see.
“There are books on the ground; we have another intruder; get Magnus.”
Syddall could hear the voices fading away as he crashed into walls trying to get away from the Librarians. His footing became more sure as he reached an area of great light.
An opening ahead was white with light; he passed through the veil of light, and his draw dropped at the sight of the center of the library. A colossal spire ran through the center of the room with rotating platforms leading to it; surrounding the spire was another floorless opening. This one was at least twice the size of the first he had seen. On the spire was the symbol for the dream god, the first sign he had received all night.
The echoes of panicked voices drove Syddall to cross the moving platforms; he had to be quick if he was to get his book and leave alive. No matter how swift Syddall was, he was not prepared for what was to happen next.